Summer Science Internship Program

2015 High School Summer Science Program

Program Overview

In 1986 the Regional Dean of the College of Medicine at Rockford, Dr. Bernard “Buz” Salafsky, and Dr. Dennis Klink, Chief of the Research and Development Division at the formerly known, Pierce Biochemicals, initiated a science training program for Rockford area high school students. The major focus of this program was to stimulate scientific inquisitiveness in young minds by giving students an opportunity to work side-by-side with a researcher or an industrial scientist. They believed this would have a lasting impact on the students and, simultaneously, help to mold a future generation of scientists. After 29 years and training over 130 students, the graduates of this program are the living testimony to its outstanding success.

Program Mission

The major mission of this program is to motivate students to consider careers in science. Understanding what is involved in medical research, how research can have an impact by making new discoveries that help cure diseases, or learning about the role of industrial science in innovation and product development can help the students decide if a scientific career is challenging enough for them to want to pursue. 

The program aims to impart new laboratory skills to the selected students. Researchers at the University of Illinois, Rockford campus, conduct cutting-edge research to find a cure for cancer, develop vaccines, and design and develop new drugs. Scientists at Thermo Fisher Scientific (formerly Pierce Biochemicals) design and develop new tools for research and develop diagnostic assays and instruments that are used in the pharmaceutical industry.

This program also provides invaluable experiences to students by working side-by-side with leading scientists in research and technology fields at the University of Illinois and at Thermo Fisher Scientific. One of the great experiences the students have is working as part of a research team. During this process, the students develop a mentor relationship that often goes well beyond the summer internship. Mentors guide them and write letters of reference for their college admissions and career interviews.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, Rockford

Thermo Fisher Scientific is our partner in this Summer Science Program.

As the world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher Scientific has both an interest in, and a responsibility for, inspiring tomorrow's scientists.

The charter of the Thermo Fisher Foundation for Science is to support science, health and technology programs and initiatives around the world.

Thermo Fisher Scientific believes that their direct contribution to stronger, more vibrant science and technology education is one more way that their company can accelerate the pace — and realize the promise — of future scientific discovery. That future is dependent on nurturing today’s bright young minds.

How does the program help the students?

Student research and training often results in a scientific publication with the student as an author.

Each student will receive a stipend for successfully completing his/her research projects.

A good relationship with the mentor, often leads to a research position in the same lab or in an undergraduate program.

After completing this program, many of our students, are highly sought after and get a full-ride in either MD or PhD programs.

Several of our students consider this experience as a major advantage for entrance into Medical School, Graduate School, and Pharmaceutical Doctorate Programs.

A few of our students were also directly recruited to research positions in Industry.

2015 Key Dates

2015 Eligible Schools

Summer Science & SMaRT slide show

2015 Summer Science Application

Please complete the application, print, sign and return by mail to:


Janet Stull Snow

College of Medicine at Rockford

Department of Biomedical Sciences

1601 Parkview Avenue

Rockford, IL 61107



"I have been accepted to some amazing colleges with full rides or close to full rides. Most notably and respectfully I have been accepted to Northwestern, Carleton, University of Notre Dame, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Harvard University and I am still awaiting to hear back for more… Before this internship I did not believe that I could compete in a global society. I did not even think to apply to these Universities. However, once selected to this selective internship, I began to have confidence in myself, my abilities, and to feed fire to my goal of becoming involved in medicine…"
Gerardo Castillo, 2013 Intern